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Learn something new in Leeds

PLASA Focus offers two days of seminars and case studies alongside the exhibition, writes Dave Robinson. The team behind PLASA Focus: Leeds 2010 is keen to emphasise the two-day Education & Learning Programme which runs alongside the sell-out exhibition, to be held at the Royal Armories on 27-28 April.

“The Programme proved a major success in 2009 and, this year, it will cover an equally diverse range of industry topics and regional case studies. And last year was very well attended, too, so pre-booking is strongly recommended!” says events manager Sophie Atkinson.

Beginning with The Theatres Trust Annual Conference on the 27th, this year’s debate focuses on the principles of School Theatre Design. That’s followed by a Production Management Forum with the SMA (Stage Managers Association) and a session entitled ‘Preparing for the Future’ with the NSA (National Skills Academy), who, as part of their quest to give people access to careers in the backstage industries, will explore why accreditation in the industry is important. It will also address changes to legislation, in particular issues surrounding ‘green’ legislation.

The second day (28 April) opens with two regional case studies. David Stuttard, for the past 12 years the technical director of the Wexford Opera House, will discuss the rebuilding of this landmark venue which has been one of Ireland’s most important cultural projects of recent times. The rebuild employs many innovations, both architectural and technical. David will reflect on how the acclaimed new venue came into being, exploring the relationships between client, architect and consultants during the build and on to the completed reality.

The second case study is an insight into the ground-breaking installation that’s putting Manchester’s iconic music scene back on the map. The Warehouse Project is the UK’s largest and most successful temporary clubbing and live music phenomenon. Located in the industrial arches deep beneath Manchester’s Piccadilly train station, all lighting, sound and live production has been supplied, built and managed by live events and communications agency Ear To The Ground. They will be explaining how they turn a working car park into a club capable of attracting the world’s most famous DJs and bands. . . in four hours!

The importance of safety in rigging will be addressed by UK Rigging and Total Solutions Group in a workshop on the topic ‘What’s the Damage?’ – exploring the legal requirements and practicalities of inspecting work equipment used in the entertainment industry.

A seminar by InfoComm International entitled ‘Realising the Value of Project Management’ will explore how effective project management and efficient processes can help to retain margin and add value – a topic of relevance to all disciplines.

The Education & Learning programme will close with a seminar from Julie’s Bicycle, a not-for-profit organisation helping the music industry cut its greenhouse gas emissions and build climate responsible businesses. The session will address key sustainability issues in the creative industries and how Julie’s Bicycle has approached these challenges. This event will also examine the opportunities, the limitations, and what is needed to base cultural experiences on a low carbon infrastructure.

Admission to all seminars is free; however, visitors must register to reserve a place as space is limited.